Addiction Recovery Program Site Added to LDS.org
By Melissa Merrill, Church News and Events
- The initial release of arp.lds.org offers resources for those struggling with addiction, their loved ones, their leaders, and ARP volunteers.
- Members can find Addiction Recovery Program meetings by location, schedule, group, and meeting type.
- While the initial release is in English, plans are place for the site to be translated into other languages.
- Those who have previously been unable to participate in the ARP will find new alternatives for finding and attending meetings.
- The program and meetings will continue to be administered under local priesthood direction.
“Those who are encompassed with darkness and despair can feel hope. They can be free. In the end, that is the main goal of the Addiction Recovery Program: to help people come unto Christ.” — Ben Erwin, LDS Family Services counseling program manager for the ARP
Throughout the world, members of the Church and others have found hope and healing through the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), sponsored by LDS Family Services. Now, with the advent of http://arp.lds.org, the 12-step program’s message of recovery through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is accessible to more people than ever before.
The initial release of the site, launched last week in English (plans are in place for the site to be translated into other languages at a future date), includes information for people facing addictions, their loved ones, their leaders, and ARP volunteers, a structure somewhat similar to that of the Combating Pornography website the Church released in April 2010.
The site solves what have been two major barriers to the program in the past—awareness and availability, said Ben Erwin, LDS Family Services counseling program manager for the ARP. The site’s presence on LDS.org will help more people be aware of the program’s existence—and of its being a program sanctioned by the Church—and it will help people who may not have had access to the program or program materials previously.
Current Release of arp.lds.org
One of the main features of the initial version of the site is the meeting locator. This tool allows people to find meetings by location, by schedule, by group makeup or addiction, and by meeting type. For instance:
- People whose jobs require travel can find a meeting in the locations they’re visiting for work. (Prior to this, they might have just skipped their meeting for the week, missing opportunities for valuable support.)
- People whose commitments preclude them from attending meetings during standard times can find a meeting held during a time more conducive to their schedules (for instance, in many areas of the world, meetings are held on weekday evenings).
- Someone who wishes to attend a meeting for a particular type of addiction—for instance, pornography or unhealthy eating—can find meetings geared specifically to their struggle. In addition, people can use the locator tool to find meetings geared not only to those struggling with addictions, but also for their loved ones.
- Someone who lives in a remote area or a region in which meetings are not yet being held can find meetings held via conference call. This could also be a good option for those who are not comfortable attending a face-to-face meeting. (Note: some telephone meetings are organized with all participants calling in; in other cases, a face-to-face meeting might be conducted with a speakerphone in the room, and others call in to participate with those who are attending the meeting in person.)
All information about meetings entered into the tool is maintained locally by LDS Family Services Offices, program coordinators, or others associated with overseeing the meetings—not centrally by Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. This is important because, since the program is priesthood-driven and meetings are organized under the direction of a stake or district president, those who have stewardship in particular regions can update the meetings instantly.
Because the program is administered locally, those who are unable to locate the program in their area can speak to their stake or district president and request that he consider hosting the program in their unit. Stake and district leaders who receive such requests then address the need with Area leadership.
Future Releases of arp.lds.org
The site will continue to grow over time, both in terms of language offerings and of content.
Elements of future releases may include videos of recovery stories, resources for immediate support, and secure tools for confidentially sharing questions and experiences.
Benefits of the Website
Scott Keate, product manager for the new site, said that he hopes people struggling with addictive behavior at any level will consider the resources available through arp.lds.org.
“There is this misconception that you have to have a ‘really serious’ addiction to participate in the Addiction Recovery Program,” he said. “But members are finding support through all sorts of different types of addictions and other problems by participating in the Addiction Recovery Program.”
Brother Erwin added that he hopes that those who have experienced recovery firsthand will also use the website to help support individuals now seeking their own recovery. While LDS Family Services will provide addiction-specific information, practical helps, and tips for how to respond to triggers, he said, one of the major strengths of the Addiction Recovery Program is the support offered by other people at a “grassroots level.”
“This is an opportunity to give back,” Brother Erwin said. “Serving others working through the program can also help reinforce your own recovery.”
Regardless of where people are in their fight against addiction, he said, there is hope in the Savior.
“There is no sin, no addiction, no problem beyond the hope of the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Brother Erwin said, paraphrasing “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” by President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “Those who are encompassed with darkness and despair can feel hope. They can be free. In the end, that is the main goal of the Addiction Recovery Program—to help people come unto Christ.”